Book Review: The Memory Bank by Carolyn Coman and Rob Shepperson

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THE MEMORY BANK is the story of Hope Scroggins, who lives with her beloved sister Honey and the Dursley-esque parents they share. In fact these parents are SO horribly awful that one day, when the sisters disobey the rule against "no laughing," they banish Honey forever, telling Hope that she must simply "forget" her. Hope knows that she HAS to find her sister again, before her memories of Honey fade. But before she can even begin to look, she's whisked away to the World Wide Memory Bank, where her accounts are in disarray... There she learns about the process of how dreams and memories are kept safe. She also learns that there's a group of misfits called the Clean Slate Gang who want to destroy the Memory Bank, and all of the dreams and memories kept there. What she doesn't know is that Honey has been picked up by the Clean Slate Gang, and they're heading right for the Memory Bank. The story of how Hope makes her way through this brewing conflict and rescues her little sister is full of tension and suspense, set in a vividly imagined world of strange machines and wonderful characters.

My, what a sweet little story. It basically chronicles one girl's heartfelt journey to find her little sister. It reminds me of The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry for the despicable parents, but The Willoughbys is more satiric. The Memory Bank is more sincere and fantastical. 

The storytelling format is similar to that of Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck (both amazing books - you MUST read them). Pencil illustrations and words alternate throughout the book. More like Wonderstruck, the pictures tell Honey's story and the words tell Hope's. Although the blurb promises conflict, there's really no actual "fighting" but more of a spiritual conflict between the leader of the Clean Slate Gang and her father. The message of the importance of parents in a child's upbringing is touching and effectively communicated. The warm, accepting characters at the Memory Bank (i.e., Obleratta) are comforting and are typical of a book directed towards a younger audience. However, the whole plot unfolded too quickly for my liking.

Overall maybe a 2.5 out of 5, but a great read for maybe first through third graders. 
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